Disability Pride Month Poem
We hold our heads high with pride
whether we walk or wheel our way
through the ups and downs
of the disability life tide
Life with invisible or physical limitations
isn’t always easy
interacting with us
shouldn’t make you feel queasy
just say hi, that’s all it takes
we have feelings too
ableism makes our hearts ache
to be loved, to be accepted
for who we are
we don’t want your pity
we want to be heard and seen
please teach your kids not to be mean
Don’t assume you know
how our minds and bodies work
ask questions, get to know us
give it time and you’ll see
we’re just living our lives every day
no matter what comes our way
just like you
because we’re people, too
July is Disability Pride Month
pretty cool, right?
it’s about claiming who we are
while continuing the fight
for our healthcare, our jobs
and, ultimately, our rights.
© Nicole Luongo
I wrote this poem for Disability Pride Month, which has occurred every July since 1990, after the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Since this month — or the flag designed for it — isn’t a nationally recognized “day” or holiday, many disability advocates like myself are using social media to help raise awareness. This poem is my contribution.
The Disability Pride flag was designed by Ann Magill, a disabled woman. The flag has a black background with five zig zag lines diagonally across the flag in blue, yellow, white, red, and green. The lines symbolize a lightning bolt and each color represents the following:
The black background represents the suffering due to ableism or violence; it’s also the color of rebellion and protest. The lightning bolt represents how individuals with disabilities must navigate barriers, and demonstrates their creativity in doing so. The five colors represent the variety of needs and experiences in our community: Mental Illness, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Invisible and Undiagnosed Disabilities, Physical Disabilities, and Sensory Disabilities. The parallel stripes represent solidarity within the disability community, as well as all of its differences.
UPDATE: In October 2021, The Disability Pride flag was updated because “the colors have been muted and rearranged to reduce eye strain, and each stripe also has a slightly different level of brightness (brightest in the center and darkening outward), so that even those with some form of color blindness can distinguish the stripes.” Click thru the pictures to learn more about the updated flag. (Source: Disability Rights Florida).
Visit the Disability Pride Parade website to learn more about the virtual celebration on Saturday, July 24, 2o21. Want more poetry? Click here to read one of my most popular blog posts — the ‘I AM’ disability poem from the founder of Footsteps of WYN.
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